Every dart player or casual thrower of darts loves to mix the games up once in a while. One of the best ways to do this is with a “novelty” dart game. You need to have some serious practice games in order to get better at darts but every once in a while, you just need to play a game that’s fun.
I’ve covered some novelty dart games before like Baseball Darts and Golf Darts, but one of my favorite crossover games is snooker darts. Chances are, if you like darts you probably also like snooker, they are both incredibly popular bar games after all.
As it’s such a great game, in this article, I’ll cover how to play snooker darts including rules, scoring, and any tips or strategies that will help you beat anyone at this game.
Number of Players
2 or more players
Snooker darts can be played with two or more players. Increasing the number of players in the game increases the intensity of the competition. The game is typically played as individuals rather than as a team.
Snooker Darts Rules and Scoring
Snooker darts are based on traditional snooker, combining it with darts. Rather than hitting balls, you’re hitting numbered spaces. The scoring systems are nearly identical. Here is an overview of the rules and scoring system for the dart version of the game.
The rules of snooker darts are based on the traditional rules for snooker, translated to a dartboard. Unlike other dart games, each player throws only one dart per turn until they miss a number. Everyone throws their dart at the beginning of the game and the player who strikes closest to the bullseye becomes the “breaker”.
The breaker is the first person to throw a dart. They have to start by hitting a red ball, hitting the board on one of the numbers one through fifteen. These are called red balls and they are worth one point each.
Once a player strikes a red ball, they can hit colored balls. But first, they must announce which ball they are targeting. After they hit a colored ball, they target another red ball, and then another colored ball. They can keep shooting in this order until they miss.
Missing a shot results in losing four points, or the face value of a colored ball. When you hit a red ball, it’s removed from the table. But if you hit a number other than the one you specified, nothing is removed from the table.
Once all of the red balls have been removed from the table (numbers 1-15 have been hit), the players target colored balls in a specific order. Failure to follow this order, darts falling off of the board, or striking the outer ring of the board can result in penalties.
The game continues until all the red and colored balls have been closed off.
In snooker darts, each space on the dartboard represents a ball and has a different score associated with it. This is equivalent to traditional snooker, where the red balls are worth one point each, and the colored balls have different values associated with them.
- Numbers 1-15: Red balls, each one is worth one point
- Number 16: Yellow ball, worth two points
- Number 17: Green ball, worth three points
- Number 18: Brown ball, worth four points
- Number 19: Blue ball, worth five points
- Number 20: Pink ball, worth six points
- Bullseye: black ball, worth seven points
Snooker Darts Scoreboard
To set up a game of snooker darts, write numbers 1-15 down the center column with the word (red) in brackets next to each. Repeat this for numbers 16-20 with the corresponding color in brackets and finally, at the bull and color as well.
Then, on either side of the middle column, add player 1 and player 2. When a point is scored, mark it under the player’s name. If the red ball is hit, mark a score of 1 and then cross out that number to show that the ball has been “potted” (hit) and can’t be used again.
When you pot a colored ball immediately after a red ball, you don’t cross the number off but do add the score to your total. Once all the red balls are potted, you then hit the colored balls in order, and once hit, you then mark them off until you get to the bullseye.
For a visual guide, see the chart I made below to demonstrate scoring.
How to Play Snooker Darts
In snooker darts, your turn lasts until you miss a shot, then the next person starts playing. You target the red balls and then the colored balls in alternating order, as long as you keep striking them.
At the end of the game, the person with the most points wins. Snooker darts is considered a faster and more portable version of the game snooker. You don’t have to have a big billiard table and a dartboard is pretty portable. The faster gameplay of snooker darts makes it more appealing time-wise than traditional snooker.
One strategy to play snooker darts is to avoid aiming for high numbers, and instead aim for spots on the dartboard that you are used to hitting. This is one of the best strategies to win.
It’s also important to remain calm because frustration and impatience can end up losing the game for you.
Snooker Darts Example Game
An example snooker dart game could go as follows: The first player hits number 14, which gives them one point. They then declare that they will target the green ball i.e. number 16, which gives them three points.
They strike another red ball, giving them a point, and declare that they’re targeting number 19, the blue ball. They miss however and lose five points (the face value of the blue ball) as the next player steps up to take their turn.
The next player might miss the board on their first throw, so they wouldn’t get any points at all. The players keep battling back and forth trying to accumulate points and taking balls off the board.
Snooker Darts Tips & Strategies
The game of snooker is very strategic and there is definitely an element of playing to put your opponent at a disadvantage. This is much more difficult to achieve when playing snooker darts though.
Therefore, to gain an advantage in snooker darts you need to minimize mistakes as well as reducing your opponent’s scoring opportunities. There are a few ways this can be done:
- Ignore the black ball (bullseye). Most people reading this will not have the accuracy to hit this consecutively. Therefore, after you hit a red, aim for an easier color like pink (20 bed ((((((())) ).
- Leave your opponent with difficult red balls. If for example, you know your opponent is not very good on the bottom right side of the board, leave the 2, 15, and 10 balls until the very end. That way, you know your opponent will struggle to hit them.
- Aim for the higher colors after hitting a red. I know I said to avoid the bullseye after hitting a red, but that doesn’t mean you should aim for a yellow, scoring just 2 points. A 20 scoring 6 points after hitting a red should be a default shot.
I’ve got to admit, I’d never heard of snooker darts until recently. I tend to play practice games over the more “fun” or casual games, however, I’m a fan of snooker. Therefore, when I first came across this game I obviously had to try it out!
While it can’t replicate the actual game of snooker, snooker darts are a great concept that anyone can enjoy – whether or not you like snooker. The rules and scoring are relatively straightforward. I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who’s never played darts before but it’s definitely a game suitable for all skill levels.